CSIS and the Burma Issue

On Sept 5th, CSIS (a private think tank  I have been working for) in Jakarta held a public seminar on the struggle for democracy in Burma (now known as Myanmar). The Myanmar Embassy wrote a letter to the editor of the Jakarta Post accusing CSIS of inviting and hosting a terrorist group to that seminar. The Embassy was referring to NCGUB, a government in exile of Burma, that has been struggling to bring democracy back to the country. Below is the response from CSIS signed by Dr. Hadi Soesastro, the Executive Director. I also attach the original letter from the Embassy, which was published by the Jakarta Post.
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Myanmar/Burma Issue:
CSIS & AIPMC responds

September 11, 2006With reference to the letter from the Myanmar Embassy to The Jakarta Post, dated Sept. 5, a copy of which was sent to us, we would like to comment as follows.On Sept. 5, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) jointly organized and hosted an event, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), aimed at promoting awareness and creating discourse on the political and human rights situation in Myanmar.Among the list of speakers invited to address the event was Sann Aung, an elected member of parliament of Myanmar, voted-in by the Myanmarese people during its last general elections in 1990, and a member of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).He is also a member of Myanmar’s leading political party, National League for Democracy (NLD), which secured a landslide victory during the same elections. Sann Aung represents the views of the Myanmarese people seeking freedom and democracy and also the views of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and an internationally recognized and respected advocate of peace and democracy.AIPMC and CSIS, in its sincere neighborly interest of seeing a free and democratic Myanmar, choose to work with all parties including the Myanmarese elected parliamentarians-in-exile. Their views, as legitimately elected representatives of the Myanmarese people, are a necessity in pursuing an agenda for political reform in Myanmar.We also continue to firmly call for the cessation of any form of violence and terror in Myanmar and have always demanded for an end to human rights violations by any institution within and without the country.AIPMC and CSIS certainly do not collaborate with terrorists or any other forces of violence and refute those charges vehemently. The Myanmarese elected members of parliament are not terrorists, nor are thousands of other Myanmarese volunteers seeking democratic changes.The NCGUB’s espousal for a peaceful and sustainable political solution to the situation in Myanmar, deserves broader support from the rest of us in the ASEAN region.

The real enemies of the Myanmarese people or “terrorists” — if one wants to insist on using the term — are the military generals of the State, Peace and Development Council (SPDC), who continue to deny the aspirations of the people of Myanmar.

DATUK ZAID IBRAHIM Chairperson AIPMC

HADI SOESASTRO Executive Director CSIS Jakarta

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Myanmar protests

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) office in Jakarta, hosted a public seminar on Myanmar and, to our surprise, one of the discussants happened to be from a terrorist group named the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).

The NCGUB and also its leader were declared terrorists by the government of the Union of Myanmar in April for committing atrocious acts against the nation and the people such as planting and blasting bombs, manufacturing fabricated news stories designed to undermine national unity, exaggeration of news stories in order that the government may be misunderstood in various sectors and, providing cash assistance and masterminding destructive acts with the intention of causing bloodshed and panic among the people.

We were saddened to learn that such a prestigious forum in Indonesia, a country fighting terrorism and continuously improving her capability in combating terrorism, paid credence and dignity to an organization based on terrorism.

SOE LWIN Information Officer Myanmar Embassy Jakarta

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Sann Aung comments

We are not surprised that the Myanmarese Embassy in Jakarta has reacted strongly to the presence of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) delegate at the “Public Seminar on Myanmar” in Jakarta. What was surprising, however, was the way it reacted.

Since its inception, the NCGUB, a government in exile, has solely been a political entity firmly committed to upholding nonviolence and peaceful political change which is the main policy directive of Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. None of its members are involved in armed or terrorist activities.

Lest the Myanmarese military regime should forget, we are representatives legitimately elected and mandated by the people of Myanmar to restore democracy and human rights in the country. Unlike the Myanmarese generals, we do not terrorize the ethnic people, or deny people of their right to choose their own destiny, or instill fear in the country with widespread human rights abuses. It is time for the Myanmarese generals to stop the name calling and starting thinking about resolving the socioeconomic and political problems of Myanmar through political dialog.

Our commitment to change through a dialog participated in by all stakeholders in the country is well known and we continue to look forward to the day the Myanmarese generals will come to their senses and join the negotiating table.

Our presence at the seminar in Jakarta had also been to deliver our message of hope and peace for Myanmar as well as the region as a whole, and our visit not only to Jakarta but also to another ASEAN country, Cambodia, have been very successful because of the understanding, friendship, and cordiality of the people of Cambodia and Indonesia.

We remain profoundly grateful to them and we look forward to stronger bonds of friendship, understanding, and support from the leaders and people of all ASEAN countries in our efforts to pursue democracy through peaceful means in Myanmar.

SANN AUNG Elected Representative Member of the NCGUB Myanmar

2 Tanggapan to “CSIS and the Burma Issue”

  1. Bhatara Ibnu Reza Says:

    Good…sekali-sekali CSIS bisa gantikan Imparsial dan KontraS nih…Ever Onward No Retreat !

  2. philips vermonte Says:

    bung, Imparsial dan KontraS tak tergantikan lah….he..he

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